Everyone has rituals for heading into and preparing for the New Year, whether those include picking up a new calendar, planning to host a party, deciding which party to attend, or, perhaps most popularly, deciding on a New Year’s resolution. For a lot of people, the beginning of a new year brings with it a fresh start and a chance to reinvent themselves and build new, healthy habits. Especially for people in recovery, or people who want to recover from a substance abuse disorder, this can be an especially excellent opportunity to do just that.
At Recovery Care, we know that maintaining your recovery isn’t always easy. However, we also know that New Year’s resolutions are great for staying motivated or regaining lost motivation. Here are some resolutions you can use as aids in your mission of staying sober:
Keep a Journal
For as long as people have been able to write, we’ve been keeping journals. Journals allow us to write down the events of a day and reflect on them, granting us a better understanding of ourselves and our emotions. Plus, when kept over a long period of time, journals give us an opportunity to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come. Journals can help you relieve stress and anxiety, set and track goals, and help you feel more accomplished when you’ve achieved those goals.
There are no rules on how to keep a journal—your entries can be about whatever you want, whether they’re reflections on your day, lists of things you’re grateful for, quick entries about your physical and mental health, something else, or a combination. You can use a journal that gives you prompts, or look up prompts on the internet. Your journal can be a physical object, like a notebook or a diary with a lock, or it can be digital. What you write is up to you, but your goal should be to write something down every day.
Discover Something New
Recovery often asks us to leave old activities and friends that could cause us to relapse behind. This can be difficult for many reasons, but one is not knowing how to fill your time. The excess free time that comes with cutting these things out can also lead to a relapse. What this means is that after cutting out toxic habits and people, it’s vital that they be replaced by healthy alternatives.
This New Year, explore your interests and form some new skills. Try taking a local painting class, teaching yourself how to play the guitar, reading all the unread books on your bookshelf, or learning and practicing some yoga choices. Now’s the perfect time to discover a new hobby or skill, whatever you want that to be, and it might help you make new friends and form a new, sober community, as well.
Make Healthy Choices
Exercising is also a great way to fill your free time with new activities and new people, and as an added bonus, taking care of your physical health can also help you with your recovery. Some classic New Year’s resolutions involve going to the gym more often or starting a healthier diet, and these resolutions may work for you, as well. It’s up to you how you want to fit physical activity into your life—you could hike, ride a bike, go to the gym, join an exercise class, or even a sports team.
Exercise has a lot of benefits, but you might be wondering how exercise is connected to your recovery. Physical activity causes our body to release endorphins, feel-good chemicals, which help with stress, something that cause speedbumps on the road to recovery. These endorphins also help improve our overall mood, helping to prevent a relapse. Problems with sleep and sleeping regularly is also a common problem among people in recovery, and exercise can help with that, as well.
Reach Out for Help When You Need It
It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic illness. Your struggles are not a reflection of your willpower or moral failings, but instead symptoms of a sickness. Make your resolution this year to use your support system and reach out to others when you need it, whether that means reaching out to sober friends, visiting a substance abuse therapist, or attending substance abuse group counseling.
You have tools at your disposal to keep you sober this New Year. If you’re looking for drug counseling near you, look no further than the specialists at Recovery Care. With services like medication-assisted addiction treatment (MAT) and mental health care options, we’re ready to help you through this New Year and beyond.
Ready to commit yourself to your New Year’s resolutions? Get started on your list by scheduling an appointment online today with one of Recovery Care’s substance abuse counselors in Jeannette, Pittsburgh, or Somerset PA; as well as Keyser, WV. You can also call (855)-502-2273 for more information.